The 6 Makeup Trends That Will Define 2021

It's (mostly) going to be all about the eyes.

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2021 Makeup Trends
Photo: jennakristina/Instagram, maryphillips/Instagram, Getty Images/InStyle

The silver lining of having to spend most of the last year at home is that it's given us more time to try new things, whether that's baking sourdough bread, knitting socks, or experimenting with makeup colors you usually don't wear.

And a new year brings a fresh set of makeup trends to master, so if you're already bored of the looks you've perfected while quarantining in 2020, then you've found yourself in the right corner of the internet.

Vibrant colors and nostalgia are two major themes, which makes complete sense since many of us have been finding comfort in watching old TV shows or painting our nails cheery colors throughout the pandemic. Christian Serratos's '60s-inspired negative space eyeliner and Tessa Thompson's gorgeous violet smoky eye are two prime examples.

From glowy skin that'll make you look less washed out on Zoom to berry-stained lips, the makeup trends are heavy on the eyes (considering we're still going to be wearing face masks), but there's also looks that cover all the bases.

Ahead, the six makeup trends that are going to blow up.

VIDEO: Everything You Need To Know About Applying Makeup For Your Eye Shape

1. Stained Lips

The past year has been tough for anyone who swears by a bold lipstick. While face masks aren't going away in the foreseeable future, that doesn't mean you can't wear a lipstick. Just swap your go-to creamy matte red for a stain that's less likely to transfer onto your mask. Take Laura Harrier's lived-in berry lip for example.

Get the Look

While lip stains get a bad rap for drying out lips, many of today's formulas contain hydrating ingredients that prevent the color from settling into lip lines or flaking. We're fans of YSL's Vinyl Cream Lip Stain, which offers impressive color payoff and 12 hours of wear. For extra insurance, tap the stain on with your fingertip to set it in place.

2. Graphic Lines

You've probably seen graphic eyeliner looks all over Instagram, thanks to people getting creative with their eye makeup in response to face masks covering the lower half of our faces for most of 2020. This year, sharp lines are still going strong, whether it's a classic cat eye or a '60s-inspired negative space liner like this look celebrity makeup artist Jenna Kristina created for Selena: The Series star Christian Serratos.

Get the Look

Opt for a creamy gel liner with a fine tip. You'll easily be able to draw precise lines without any tugging, but it also wont smudge or melt off. Maybelline's TattooStudio Waterproof Long Wearing Eyeliner Pencil is one of our go-to drugstore gel liners.

3. Dolphin Skin

Just like the reflective, wet skin of dolphins, this bare-faced makeup look is all about a fresh, glowing complexion. Celebrity makeup artist Mary Phillips is known for giving her clients like Hailey Bieber that illusive lit-from-within glow. Aside from a dewy highlight, the rest of the look consists of simple no-makeup makeup.

Get the look

A tinted moisturizer with nourishing ingredients like bareMinerals' Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer will create a plump, hydrated base for your highlight. A balmy highlighter like Tower28's SuperDew will give you a dewy, natural glow rather than a streaky shimmery finish.

4. Purple Eye Makeup

2021 Makeup Trends
David Crotty/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

Playing with colorful eye makeup is a safe and easy way to spark some joy when as the days of social distancing continue to melt into one. While any shade goes, we've noticed more and more purple eye makeup looks popping up on pre-COVID red carpets and on Instagram through the tail end of 2020. Purple is the perfect balance between vibrant and subtle, depending the shade and finish of the products you use. It also gives the classic smoky eye an unexpected twist, as seen on Tessa Thompson.

Get the Look

Thompson's makeup artist Kate Lee created the star's look using Chanel products, including the Ombre Premiere Longwear Powder Eyeshadow in Vibrant Violet and Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner in Purple Croc. Paint the whole lid with the powder eyeshadow and wing it out at the outer corner and use the liner to define the lash line.

5. '90s Liner

2021 Makeup Trends
Jeff Kravitz/MTV VMAs 2020/Getty Images for MTV

When the current decade you're in feels like a mess, looking back and leaning into nostalgic beauty trends bring a much-needed sense of comfort. The next time you're in the mood for eyeliner, opt for a '90s tightline look like Bella Hadid wore to the 2020 VMAs. Finish things off with a nude glossy lips to keep the focus on the eyes.

Get the Look

A waterproof liner is key for doing '90s-style eyeliner. Dior's Diorshow Stylo Waterproof Eyeliner has an ultra-fine tip that allows you to go in close to the waterline without it running or smudging. Complete the vintage inspired look with a shiny nourishing lip oil such as Dior's Lip Gloss Oil in Raspberry, which adapts to the color of your lips for a custom your-lips-but-better shade.

6. Colorful Mascara

You've seen colorful eyeliner all over Instagram, so it's only natural that unexpected shades of mascara are trending. The best part? Bright blue lashes like Lupita Nyong'o's is as easy as swiping on a few coats of mascara.

Get the Look

The actress' makeup artist Nick Barose took this eye makeup look to the next level by accessorizing her royal blue lashes with a deep red lip. He used Lashify's royal blue Gossamer Lashes and Lancome's Monsieur Big Color Lash Topcoat in Blue on Nyong'o. L'Oreal's Voluminous Mascara in Cobalt blue is another good option for anyone looking for a one-step lash routine.

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